Infinite Circulation

excerpts from a forthcoming piece for Volume #47:
Full text here

If circulation has been a collective ideology, providing truths that traverse political spectra, social demographics and economic regimes, the program of transparency introduces a reflexive demand that forces circulation to both concretely structure world order and to create the realm of its illuminated, digital acclamation. Transparency, in other words, demands that the earthly process of circulation must also transcend itself in its cybernetic other.

As a campaign to implement a global neoliberal ethics, transparency demands that the world reconstitute itself as information. Its efficacy as such hinges on the instant and unrestricted circulation of data. It is thus first and foremost a technological regime. Its infrastructural layout of superimposed networks is also its political diagram. Here, space and politics coincide in the infinite circulation of a new form of power.

What is at stake in the debates around cybernetic infrastructures – yet has remained undisclosed – is how transparency will condition the human experience. More precisely, it remains to be seen how it will curb or even preclude the possibilities for political life. Whether IBM automates an entire city or if we organize communities of open source ‘data stewards’ that feed into the same infrastructures, the underlying regime of transparency is inevitably altering the entire ontology and structure of power in space. If transparency is a program of total inclusivity, it is so because it needs to account for and modulate all human activity. It thus makes no sense to attempt to construct some utopian ‘outside’ in which political alternatives may be imagined. Nor will a fully embedded position guarantee the possibility of counter discourse without reducing it to a frail practice of micro-reform or the playful ‘misuse’ of cybernetic infrastructure, as the figure of the ‘civic hacker’ already shows.

(thanks to Nick Axel for the invitation and for superb editorial work!)

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